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Songbird Flies Today 412

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the free-as-a-bird dept.
fr1kk writes to tell us that with the recent advent of a preview version for the new open source response to iTunes, Songbird, BoingBoing has taken a few minutes to interview team lead Rob Lord. While this program may be a great alternative to the DRM ridden iTunes and Windows Media Player platforms it is still only a Windows release. The good news is that by being open source that will (hopefully) not last very long. The Songbird site appears to be swamped right now, but there are several different mirrors available to download the client.
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Songbird Flies Today

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  • More on Lord (Score:5, Interesting)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @01:27PM (#14670621) Journal
    If you're interested in more of Robert Lord's [roblord.org] background and experiences, check out his resume [roblord.org].

    Although I dislike Winamp [slashdot.org] for it's complexity, I did thoroughly enjoy his simplistic (and very well designed) homepage called "smudges of wisdom."

    He seems to be an interesting fellow with odd musical tastes:
    Mostly sadcore (tm), not to be conflated with common ennuicore (tm).
    Also interesting is that he goes through a list of decent books, some of which I'm familiar with. The best part about them is that they aren't at all the typical programming books [stanford.edu] you'd expect.
    • Re:More on Lord (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Although I dislike Winamp for it's complexity

      v1.82 [oldversion.com] man, v1.82.
    • Re:More on Lord (Score:3, Informative)

      by code65536 (302481)
      If you dislike Winamp for its complexity, then Songbird would not be your cup of tea. Running Winamp 5 (I never bothered to install modern Winamp3-style skin support), it fires up in less than a second. Songbird takes about a quarter of a minute. Changing skins on Songbird is a 10-second ordeal that involves the window disappearing for a while. Complexity? In 2006, Winamp is by far the lightest, fastest, and least complex of all the major Windows media players.

      I tried Songbird for a few minutes and gav
      • Winamp the lightest? (Score:3, Informative)

        by eldavojohn (898314) *

        Complexity? In 2006, Winamp is by far the lightest, fastest, and least complex of all the major Windows media players.

        I'm sorry; I can't idly sit by and watch that be posted without repercussions.

        From other slashdot users, I've been alerted to foobar2000 [foobar2000.org], the light quinnware [quinnware.com], a crude hack of XMMS2 for Windows [xmms2.xmms.se], etc. Just check out this site [vorbis.com] if you want to look up new lightweight players. There are lists [i4free.co.nz] everywhere.

        Honestly, I was afraid that Songbird would be too bloated--trying to do everything

  • by Caspian (99221) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @01:27PM (#14670623)
    Source code.

    (Disclaimer: I'm pro-open-source. But, seriously, how many "music fans" (of the sorts who presently tote about iPods) would even know what source code is, much less give a crap about it? They Just Want It To Work(TM), man.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      It's not just the source that's open. The program is also a convenient user interface to buy music online, not just from a single monopoly (e.g. iTunes music store) but from all sources. DRM-free. Note in the screenshot, they have an icon to buy MP3s from amazon.
    • by tpgp (48001) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @01:37PM (#14670739) Homepage
      Yes, 'cuz that's what teenaged music fans want...

      Source code.


      Well - thats pretty much answered in the article:
      The opportunity to innovate is stymied by architecture.... ....Justin Frankel created a collaborative jamming service, and you can't do that inside any commercial media player now. You'll be able to do those kinds of things inside Songbird.
      How many people write extensions for firefox? Not many, but how many people enjoy said extensions?

      The source being available mightent directly benefit most people who use an open source program, but they sure as hell benefit from others having access to the source....
      • That or Sony rips that source code apart and uses it in their next illegal DRM schema.

        I could care less whether software is open-source, tbh. If it's free (as in beer) and intuitive/functional, I don't particularly care if I can find their code comments. If other people use that open-source to make the app better, great, but I'm personally not going to bother with it. And I'd imagine this is true for most OSS users. Having the possibility for anyone being able to improve it is just a bonus to me.

    • how many "music fans" (of the sorts who presently tote about iPods) would even know what source code is, much less give a crap about it

      The more interesting question is:

      Do kids give a damn about the independent labels or DRM free muaic?

  • I predict... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @01:27PM (#14670626)
    ...the same overwhelming success as Ogg. And for the same reasons.
    • Ogg Vorbis wedge (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Medievalist (16032)

      I predict... the same overwhelming success as Ogg. And for the same reasons.

      Actually, this could be an effective wedge to help Ogg Vorbis gain traction. Everyone knows Ogg is technically superior, and everyone gives it lip service, but lack of players means lack of incentive for recording artists to use it.

      If songbird keeps a clean and easily understood interface - not descending into the usual "intuitive... if you're a psychotic fanboy!" interface hell that has claimed so many media players - it will gr

      • by Tim Browse (9263)
        Everyone knows Ogg is technically superior

        Very far from the truth. Most people have never even heard of Ogg.

        And to prove my point in an instructive way, I assume you actually meant that "Everyone knows that Vorbis is technically superior" (which is also not true, of course).

        Otherwise your statement is akin to "everyone knows that QuickTime is technically superior".

  • Here's the thing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spytap (143526) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @01:28PM (#14670640)
    Unless it syncs with my iPod, I really don't have much use for it. Honestly, that's where my music listening is done, not in my office at my computer...
    • by Overly Critical Guy (663429) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @02:01PM (#14670956)
      I see nothing wrong with iTunes. I take issue with the submission's "DRM ridden" phrase. iTunes is not "ridden" with DRM; you don't even have to buy any music from iTunes and have a completely DRM-free experience. iTunes functions just fine as the best music management software without you having to use anything with DRM. I used iTunes for a whole year that way. I imagine most people use it that way, actually.

      However, if you do buy from iTunes, Apple provides the most lax DRM in the market. I have never, ever come across any limitation. I can burn as many CDs as I want, share the music with multiple computers, and copy them anywhere at will. When someone rattles on about iTunes DRM, it's clear to me they don't really use iTunes at all. If they did, they'd know the DRM is so invisible that most users don't even know it's there. I always forget it is.

      So you read about the software and then realize, this thing is designed to connect to multiple online stores, so it will be just as DRM ridden as anything else! Looking at the screenshots, I suddenly recognize this as the iTunes clone that Mac fans were ripping on last year. The interface is a 100% brain-dead clone of the iTunes interface, widget for widget. They couldn't even come up with their own idea. This makes OSS look bad. I can certainly guarantee this software will never take off in this state, and making goofy claims that "FairPlay is the 8-track of our generation" (huh?) doesn't help any. The developer is very arrogant and claims shopping in one central location like the iTunes Music Store is some backwards idea, when in reality, we've already DONE the multiple stores thing for years, and people have gravitated to one central source (the majority choosing iTunes). It's been the natural progression of the market. That seamless vertical experience is needed to connect it all together. Steve Jobs has stated that relying on 3rd party support in the consumer hardware space doesn't work, and so far, he's been proven correct.

      I have no experience with Windows Media Player's offerings, so I can't comment on its DRM. But I find most of the DRM commentary on Slashdot to be alarmist and inapplicable to the real world, and stuff like this just makes OSS look like kooky copycat artists fighting some unseen force that most users aren't even coming into contact with in their daily experiences.

      The developers should probably expect a response from Apple's lawyers shortly. The iTunes interface is patented, and this is just blatant! Get an original idea, guys.
      • by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @02:19PM (#14671158) Homepage
        I see nothing wrong with iTunes. I take issue with the submission's "DRM ridden" phrase. iTunes is not "ridden" with DRM; you don't even have to buy any music from iTunes and have a completely DRM-free experience.

        Thank you for pointing this out, because I was just about to.

        My music is all MP3's ripped on FreeBSD using lame, mounted over a samba share, and managed by iTunes. iTunes then gets used to play from the computer, rip CDs, or populate my iPod shuffle.

        DRM doesn't even factor in to the equation.

        The iTunes software is nicely designed, works well, has a lot of features, and came free with my iPod. Why would I start looking for a v0.1 FOSS replacement for it?
        • by mapmaker (140036)
          The iTunes software is nicely designed, works well, has a lot of features, and came free with my iPod. Why would I start looking for a v0.1 FOSS replacement for it?

          Ever try using iTunes to move songs from your iPod to a computer?

        • by neves (324086)
          Why would I start looking for a v0.1 FOSS replacement for it?

          Because it doesn't work in linux? So you wouldn't have to buy a windows box just to use it.

          Ooops! Songbird also just work in windows:-(

      • Re:Here's the thing (Score:3, Informative)

        by shokk (187512)
        My beef with iTunes is the memory footprint. However, because I can do a Rendezvous stream over an SSH pipe [shokk.com], it's the tool for me right now.
      • Re:Here's the thing (Score:4, Informative)

        by uradu (10768) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @02:34PM (#14671343)
        > If they did, they'd know the DRM is so invisible that most users don't even
        > know it's there. I always forget it is.

        I've bought plenty of albums off ITMS, and it is indeed easy to burn them to a CD and then rip that, especially when buying a whole album. When buying individual tracks, things get a bit messier, since CDEx can't lookup the metadata anymore.

        But saying that the DRM is invisible is silly. I have a Roku SoundBridge, which works just fine with iTunes, except for DRM-ed tracks. None of the ITMS albums and tracks will play on the SoundBridge, unless burned and re-ripped into iTunes. And this won't ever likely change, since Apple seems to have no interest in licensing their FairPlay (ha!) DRM to third parties.
      • I have permission from a performer, in writing, to put some of his music on my htp:///msb.libsyn.com podcast media site but the album I just bought/downloaded from the ITMS doesn't let me convert it from a protected AAC to an MP3.

        Guess what podcasting needs? Right.

        I'm going to have to use someone else or he's going to have to send me the original files as an MP3 (Thank Heavens nobody records to tape anymore.)
      • by DreadSpoon (653424) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @03:39PM (#14671927) Journal
        I have a nice speaker system setup with my Linux box. There's no way to play any of my $250 worth of iTMS-purchased songs on that machine. None. All of the files bought from iTMS are DRM-locked and can only be played on machines which are authorized through iTMS.

        Unfortunately, there is no software for Linux which is capable of doing that. DVD Jon had released FairPlay and some other tools which could unlock those files, but Apple broke those utilities with the release of iTunes 6. You have to log into iTMS with a computer to generate a key for the computer. The tools can no longer log into iTMS, and so they cannot generate a key for my Linux box.

        I can't copy the files off my Mac to my Linux box, I can't copy the files from my iPod to my Linux box, I can't copy the files to any machine that can't run iTunes, including any other portable music players made by companies other than Apple.

        Sure, the several thousands songs I ripped from CDs to MP3s are fine and I can move those around, but at my current rate I would soon surpass the number of MP3s I have with the number of DRM-encumbered MP4s I have. (I don't plan on purchasing so much as one more song from iTMS until there is a way to transfer them to my other computers and devices.)

        iTunes is fantastic if all you want to do is rip CDs onto your Mac or sync songs to an iPod. My iPod is breaking down (and is well out of warranty) and any replacement I buy will definitely not be an iPod, and my only Mac is an old iBook with horrendous sound ouput quality compared to the sound system on my Linux desktop. I've had to resort to burning my MP4s to CD (a lot of CDs), re-ripping them into Vorbis on the Linux box (losing some sound quality due to encoding the music twice), and then manually retagging all of the songs since the meta-data is lost when burned to CD. Whatever convenience I gained by using iTMS has now been lost.

        iTunes *IS* DRM encumbered. Well, more accurately, iTMS is. [b]And that's what Songbird is competing with - the music store, not the music manager.[/b]
  • by mccalli (323026) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @01:30PM (#14670654) Homepage
    From the article: Songbird can connect to any a la carte media store -- downloadable music, radio, video, P2P networks, and classes of services that haven't been created yet.

    It can connect to classes of service that haven't been invented yet? Impressive. I shall go away and ponder the transdimensional time-travelling inplications of this statement. Over a large brandy.

    Cheers,
    Ian

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @01:31PM (#14670665)
    Only on slashdot can iTunes be equalled to Windows Media Player...

    Get your facts straight: files encoded from your own CDs do NOT have any DRM in them. Only tunes bought from the built-in on-line music store have DRM.

    iTunes is a player/ripped/jukebox/music store program. You DO NOT NEED to buy DRM tunes online, you do not even need an internet connection (although it comes in handy for the CDDB feature when ripping your own CDs).

    • Totally agree. I have 85+gigs of ripped music in iTunes, not one track purchased from the Music Store.

    • by LightningBolt! (664763) <lightningboltlig ... om ['aho' in gap> on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @01:54PM (#14670887) Homepage
      Only on slashdot can iTunes be equalled to Windows Media Player...

      OK, here we go...

      Get your facts straight:

      A very good idea.

      files encoded from your own CDs do NOT have any DRM in them. Only tunes bought from the built-in on-line music store have DRM.

      True.

      iTunes is a player/ripped/jukebox/music store program.

      Windows Media Player is a player/ripper/jukebox/music store program.

      You DO NOT NEED to buy DRM tunes online, you do not even need an internet connection (although it comes in handy for the CDDB feature when ripping your own CDs).

      Also true of Windows Media Player. Like iTunes, Windows Media Player 10 will rip your CD's to mp3, with no DRM.
      • by node 3 (115640)
        Also true of Windows Media Player. Like iTunes, Windows Media Player 10 will rip your CD's to mp3, with no DRM.

        It would be fair to note that mp3 ripping is new to WMP 10, which is XP-only, and wasn't installed by default on most Windows PCs in use today.

        All copies of iTunes currently installed can rip to mp3, while only a fraction of the copies of WMP can, which puts things in a little better context.
        • by geekee (591277)
          "It would be fair to note that mp3 ripping is new to WMP 10, which is XP-only, and wasn't installed by default on most Windows PCs in use today.

          All copies of iTunes currently installed can rip to mp3, while only a fraction of the copies of WMP can, which puts things in a little better context."

          You can't get iTunes for pre-XP machines either, and iTunes isn't installed by default on any Windows PCs, so how is iTunes any advantage for ripping mp3s?
      • by GarfBond (565331)
        Also true of Windows Media Player. Like iTunes, Windows Media Player 10 will rip your CD's to mp3, with no DRM.
        This has not always been true. WMP7-9 (maybe it was 7-8) defaulted to having all your music automatically copy-protected when you ripped it, which made absolutely zero sense for the average user.
  • wonderful (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @01:31PM (#14670670)
    it's always nice to see someone doing what's been done before, only prettier, with a GPL, no support and random crashes.
    • Re:wonderful (Score:3, Interesting)

      by CMiYC (6473)
      and by prettier you meant uglier? This is one of the worst UIs I have seen in a while. I don't understand why every developer on earth thinks their application should look like nothing else.

      When I tried to change "skins", I lost access to the menu bar.
  • Open Source Music (Score:2, Insightful)

    by inKubus (199753)
    It's too bad more MUSIC isn't open source, where someone writes pieces of a tune and then releases to the public domain so others can enhance and build upon the original project...

    Back in the early days of the internet, .MOD files and the whole Fasttracker scene was at it's peak. With a .MOD file, when you distribute your music you distribute all of the samples used to make the music and the charts itself. Anyone out on the internet could then edit or improve your music. A lot of the music I wrote early
    • by The NPS (899303)
      "It's too bad more MUSIC isn't open source, where someone writes pieces of a tune and then releases to the public domain so others can enhance and build upon the original project..."

      Definitely -- I wish I had musical ability, because I'd give it away free to everyone.

    • Back in the early days of the internet, .MOD files and the whole Fasttracker scene was at it's peak. With a .MOD file, when you distribute your music you distribute all of the samples used to make the music and the charts itself. Anyone out on the internet could then edit or improve your music. A lot of the music I wrote early on was based on the works of others.

      For as much as I loved .MODs (and .S3M, .669, etc) back in the day, it really is a rather limited form of music. Or rather, it is just one form of
  • by jgbishop (861610) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @01:32PM (#14670688) Homepage
    Is there a SongSomething extension to rename this program? I prefer Songfox to Songbird...
  • by SEWilco (27983) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @01:34PM (#14670705) Journal
    "a preview version for the new open source response to iTunes, Songbird, BoingBoing"

    Which what what?

  • Mozilla-based? (Score:5, Informative)

    by eMartin (210973) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @01:34PM (#14670708)
    Right after I opened it, I noticed the column header control, and that the popup menus look more like the Firefox ones than the Windows native ones, so I checked Songbird's directory, and yes, it appears that it is Mozilla-based.

    Now, maybe that's common knowledge, but it's the first I've heard of it, and I think it's worth mentioning. Especially since talk of cross platform porting is.
  • DRM Ridden? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheBigMacMan (938594) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @01:35PM (#14670717)
    As far as I know, and I may be wrong here, iTunes will play standard mp3's. At least mine does. So what would the "...a great alternative to the DRM ridden iTunes..." gain you? I would rather have a player that can play drm'd songs, if I were forced to play a few, and still be able to play standard mp3's.
    • Re:DRM Ridden? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tsa (15680) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @01:43PM (#14670790) Homepage
      Good point. I was also a bit put off by the term "DRM ridden". I find the DRM that iTunes uses is not very restricting, and fair.
      • Re:DRM Ridden? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Afrosheen (42464)
        DRM with iTunes may seem fair, but their policies are definitely not.

        One of my clients had an iPod and an Apple laptop. He got tired of lugging the laptop around with him and wanted something smaller and lighter. He purchased a tiny little Sony VAIO. When we got to plugging the iPod into it, we found that the battery was dead. Not only that, but iTunes on Windows said the iPod was unreadable and would do nothing until we formatted it. I tried using a variety of tools to get his songs off of the iPod
        • The issue you have is that an iPod uses different files systems for the Windows and Mac version (used to, not quite sure how things stand now). To read the files from a Mac formatted on an XP machine, you need an additional piece of software.

          This is really an issue of someone not checking out their backups.

          The iTunes Music store thing is a legitimate grip. But none of that has anything to do with the iTunes app, which is what the article is about.
        • Okay, let me try to step through this crazy story.

          1.) The guy had an iPod and an Apple laptop. The laptop had his music, which he synced to his iPod.

          2.) He decided to buy a Sony Vaio, but he didn't copy any of his music from the Apple laptop to his Vaio. Even iTunes reminds you to make safe backups.

          3.) You don't say whether he sold his Apple laptop or not, so presumably he did, which means he got rid of his own music collection.

          4.) The iPod wasn't readable in Windows, which was your friend's fault. W
        • Re:DRM Ridden? (Score:4, Informative)

          by velgor (678231) <velgor@nyc.UMLAUTrr.com minus punct> on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @02:57PM (#14671557)
          Um, not only does Apple make it a point of telling you to back up your music to other media, but they will also allow you to re-download your library (on a one-time only basis) should something catastrophic happen. I've recently lost my backups and a quick email to Apple had me downloading my purchased tracks within a day.
      • "I find the DRM that iTunes uses is not very restricting, and fair."

        I hear what your saying but to play devils advocate...Can you resell the music you bought in a few years? Can you legally loan it out to your friend to listen to? Can your local library with public money switch away from CDs to Itunes and then loan the music out to patrons?

        My biggest fear has already been realized when seemingly inteligent people like yourself consider locked down untransferable music "fair". This fly's in the face of what
    • Re:DRM Ridden? (Score:3, Informative)

      by PCM2 (4486)
      As far as I know, and I may be wrong here, iTunes will play standard mp3's.

      It will quite nicely. In fact, with a little free help, it will play Ogg Vorbis files also. [xiph.org]
  • DRM Ridden? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by binaryDigit (557647) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @01:36PM (#14670733)
    While this program may be a great alternative to the DRM ridden iTunes and Windows Media Player platforms

    So what, are they going to offer the same content without DRM? Think not. How does DRM play in here? If iTMS has DRM it's because the copyright holder has agreed to allow iTMS to distribute content based on the DRM. Being OS isn't going to help this new system out in that regard. Now they may cater to those who are searching for content that is not DRM'ed, but that's content.
  • As much as I used to like Rhythmbox, and now like aMorak, the idea of a more 'iTunes' style player for Linux has been sorely needed. I hope this get's ported soon, until then, anyone have luck running this via Wine? I have the 9.5.0-pre version, and it's so fun to just have a simple shortcut now to run IE6 (installed easily with Wine Tools).
    • I wonder why Apple doesn't make iTunes for Linux. That must not be too hard for them, and may increase their profit by a (admittedly tiny) amount.
      • Dunno, one would just assume that they're afraid that ppl would then consider Linux over OSX as a desktop, but I can't think that would happen. Yeah, having it avail to Mac/Win/Lin would be a coup for them one would think, and don't think anyone would be swayed towards Linux just for iTunes. Also, looks like Songbird WILL be on linux:

        Songbird is a media browser and Web player built from Firefox's browser engine. Songbird is open source, will run on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux and supports user contributed,
      • It was like pulling teeth to get them to release a windows version, iTunes was mac only for a while till they realized that the software they bundled in with the iPod on windows wasn't all that great. The real reason they don't support Linux? I'm sure slashdot users have some great conspiracy theories, but the long and short of it is that supporting Linux doesn't really make financial sense. You have to then port it, and then pay people to maintain/support it. Yeah, it might increase your user base a li
      • Because the iTunes team doesn't want to sift through a bunch of feedback emails that say "Where's the Ogg support?" or "Why doesn't my random, esoteric GTK app magically work with some random archaic feature of iTunes?" or "RMS SAYS U R EVIL BECUZ U DONT RELEASE UR SOURCE CODES AS GEE PEE ELL."
      • I wonder why Apple doesn't make iTunes for Linux.

        Yea, that would be nice, because iTunes is one of the 2 things I still use Windows for, and it would be nice to sync my iPod in Linux. Alas, this Songbird thing won't even sync with the iPod in Windows, so I don't know what good it is.

        Frankly, iTunes isn't really such a great music player anyway - even for those rare occasions I want to listen to music on the PC. Xmms is a perfectly capable music player, although I usually use Totem these days. Althoug

    • Sorry but I can't think of a single reason to run crapware like IE6 on Linux. You already have Firefox, Konqueror, Opera, lynx/links, and a few others. What's the point? To say you can or to visit all 3 sites that break under any browser except IE6?
      • "What's the point? To say you can or to visit all 3 sites that break under any browser except IE6?" Exactly, there are some sites that my wife hits that simply will not work in Firefox, even when you spoof the useragent to appear as IE 6 on XP; the page may load, but it's unreadable and unuseable. She always emails complaints to point this out to the webmasters, but still, again, some sites HAVE to have IE to work.
      • Sorry but I can't think of a single reason to run crapware like IE6 on Linux.

        Web Development. If your site doesn't look good in IE you can stomp your feet and claim it's not standards compliant all you want, but if it drives away up to 80% of your potential customers off the bat, then it makes sense to make sure it works.
  • I only want to know if it supports AllOfMP3 ^^

    Their Explorer app is nice, but Access databases suck, especially when I haven't used it for a while, and have to wait 15 minutes for it to update.
  • Feature-wise, what does this offer that's superior to iTunes?
  • by joetheappleguy (865543) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @01:40PM (#14670765) Homepage
    ...Nice troll.

    Last I checked my .mp3's and CD rips are still DRM free in both iTunes or WMP.
  • "Songbird can connect to any a la carte media store -- downloadable music, radio, video, P2P networks, and classes of services that haven't been created yet."

    Only the power of the Lord can make something that can connect to things that haven't even been created yet!

    Seriously, this is a great idea whose time has come. I sing the praises of Songbird!
  • Proxy settings (Score:5, Informative)

    by nullvector (694435) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @01:41PM (#14670780)
    I didnt see a menu for proxy settings in the app. Might be helpful for those who are at work right now.

    You can add the following lines into your config.js in the Songbird directory.

    pref("network.proxy.http", "type proxy here in quotes");
    pref("network.proxy.http_port", YOURPROXYPORT);
    pref("network.proxy.type", 1);

    Of course, replace the port and proxy values, and you're in. Its based on firefox, so I just got the settings from the Firefox config and changed from user_pref() to pref().
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @01:42PM (#14670785)
    How exactly is iTunes "DRM ridden"? Here's my take on iTunes: it's free, it's got a decent feature set, and it's easy to use. Other than if you need to run it on an unsupported OS, what's the problem? The only DRM is for songs purchased from the iTunes Music Store, and even that DRM is pretty non-invasive. If you don't want Apple's DRM (queue whining about not being able to play iTMS music on non-iPod MP3 players), just get your music elsewhere. Rip it from CD into numerous formats with pretty solid codecs. Buy standard MP3s from some place like allofmp3.com. Download it (legally, of course) from the 'net.

    Honestly, if the software "just works", doesn't force DRM on you, and has the features you need, why spend the time making a product that just attempts to do the same thing? Are there compelling new features in SongBird that iTunes doesn't provide? The way I see it, iTunes is a very nice, free digital audio player that also has the ability to sync with an iPod and use iTMS if you want to take advantage of those things. If you don't want to use iTMS music or an iPod, then just don't use those features.

    That being said, hopefully SongBird will have some great innovations that'll push other software makers ahead as well... I'm just not sure there's any more to it than "we don't have DRM and you can see our sourcecode - yay!" and if the developers stick with that mindset it'll never go anywhere.
  • by TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @01:43PM (#14670796)
    The recent 6.02 release of iTunes won't install anymore on my Windows machine and it corrupted my old version of iTunes. I am iTuneless as of this moment so I will give it a try....

    But alas, Songbird is garish, slow, and overwrought with features. Trying to be everything to everyone by embedding web browsing and access to many alternative music stores and sponsored websites, Songbird misses out on the point of being an iTunes replacement, simplicity. Like most open source projects, people have to learn where to draw the line between duplicating someone else's success to doing too much to surpass it.

    Perhaps being a proof-of-concept product they will tweak it and streamline it enough to be both usable and simple. But I don't think we need a Mozilla based web browser that builds multimedia playback into it. Nice try. Should have just made a FireFox extension.

    I guess I am forced trying to get iTunes running again, in the short while at least.
  • FUD, FUD, FUD (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    While this program may be a great alternative to the DRM ridden iTunes...

    I'm calling FUD and misinformation on this one. I've been using iTunes since it's inception, I've got well over 10,000 songs loaded, and *none* of them are encumbered with DRM. Why? Because I ripped them from CDs I own. And you know what? *You* can do that too! Look, no DRM!

    It's just bad journalism to call iTunes "DRM ridden".

    Go find yourself a new job, because accurate reporting is not your forte.

  • by dr_canak (593415) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @01:45PM (#14670814)
    I'm late to the game of personal MP3 players and what can and can't be played on any given device. The Songbird site is down, but i did read the article. So my main question is:

    Can I use this new app to purchase music from any site that supports purchases (i.e. Apple, Napster, Rhapsody, Amazon, etc...), get a plain old MP3 file, which I can then play/burn onto any device I choose?

    I had some experience with Rhapsody a few months back, but it seemed to be in some proprietary format, and I could only use their software to play/transfer/burn the file to my media. Will Songbird get around all of that?

    thx in advance,
    jeff

    thx,
    jeff

  • by Caspian (99221) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @01:49PM (#14670843)
    In re: 'from the free-as-a-bird dept."
    Attn: Robert Commander Taco Malda, Jeff Hemos Bates

    I represent the law firm of Dewey, Cheatham and Howe, on retainer for Apple Corps [wikipedia.org] d.b.a. Apple Records. Our clients hold international legal and commercial rights to the recording Free As A Bird [wikipedia.org].

    Your unauthorized distribution of lyrics to this performance constitute, at a minimum, a violation of U.S.C. 666-69-3117 and of the provisions on distribution laid out in the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA). You are thus ordered to cease and desist the distribution of these and any other Apple Corps lyrics in your "dept" headings. Our firm has not ruled out further legal action to enforce our clients' Intellectual Property rights.

    Signed,

    Robert Cheatham, Esq.
    Dewey, Cheatham and Howe
  • Has anyone else noticed a significant maturation in the capabilities and professionalism of open source projects? Just over the last 6-12 months I'm seeing a steady stream now of major software classes all being copied rather well by open source teams. Before this, my general rule was that open source was buggy and alpha (with notable exceptions - kernel, apache, openof^H^H^...) -- but seeing this story, reminds me that maybe RMS's vision will come true.
  • While this version is only available on Windows, the app's welcome screen tells you that:

    "Songbird is a media browser and Web player built from Firefox's browser engine. Songbird is open source, will run on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux and supports user contributed, cross-platform extensions."

    I for one say, Bring it on!
  • by jpsowin (325530) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @01:53PM (#14670882) Homepage
    Yes! Another open-source copy of a commercial app!
  • So far, it has a basic iTunes-like media library, it plays MP3s, and displays web pages.

    How long until it becomes a mature media player with support for devices like iPods, offers playback features like crossfading and other effects (maybe through plug-ins like Winamp), visualization options, etc?

    So far, it looks impressive for an 0.1 release, and they mention that people will be able to offer extensions for accessibility of music, but what are their plans for built-in support for common media player featur
    • I agree. It's a great concept, and I eagerly await the next version. right now, however, it doesn't correctly go from one song to another for me, it doesn't have a lot of features that I'd like, and doesn't support my iPod.

      I can live without iPod support, but things like re-ordering based on columns, proper shuffle, etc...especially playing more than one song without me having to click "next"...these are features that I'm willing to put up with "DRM ridden" iTunes for.

      Somebody call me when version 0.7

  • by Deep Fried Geekboy (807607) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @02:12PM (#14671078)
    A clone of iTunes which doesn't interoperate with the iTunes store, play any of my DRM'd music, work on a Mac or under Linux, or interface with my iPod. Its only selling point being vaporware plugins.

    Bzzt! Next!
  • An open source media player that organizes music and looks like Itunes is all well and good.... But how does it sound? Is the EQ any good? You can organize music with most players out there...whether it sounds good is a bit more important than whether it can use services that don't even exist yet.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...what kind of bird doesn't fly? A jail bird - and that is just what all of you heathens with your new fangled technology are going to be if you keep abusing it. I know this for the RIAA tells me so.
  • by twem2 (598638) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @02:50PM (#14671497) Journal
    The point of this seems to me to be that it will let you buy from more than one store, it does not force bought music to have DRM. In other words it offers choice and freedom. iTunes restricts you.
    It is designed to be extensible. Hopefully there will be an iTunes plugin in the future, it also offers people a chance to use music differently.

    It is only release 0.1. I'm sure iPod etc syncing is in the works.

    Perhaps it will flop, but at least people tried.

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